Only Brief Stay As Finance Minister To Clean Up Mess, Put State Right

KOTA KINABALU: Mohd Shafie Apdal will not hold on to the Finance portfolio any longer than is necessary, sources close to the new Sabah Chief Minister have indicated.

They said that Mohd Shafie has a Herculean task in cleaning up the mess left behind by the previous government and that his (Shafie’s) experience as an economist would be useful in untangling the ‘web of deceit’.

He is expected to put his more than 30 years of experience to good use to put Sabah back on track as the government is riddled with lop-sided deals and financial mismanagement.

“Please allow (Datuk) Mohd Shafie space to do this job.

“Give him space to tackle issues that are critical to Sabah and once they are resolved, he will hand over the portfolio to another Minister,” said the sources who asked not to be named.

There have been people, not understanding the situation, queried as to why Mohd Shafie was holding the Finance portfolio as well, while the Chief Minister himself has assured Sabahans that there will be no conflict of interest.

“I’m just managing the economy as an economist, and I want to make sure the state finances is on the right track,” he said after the swearing in of his 11 member cabinet at Istana Negeri here Wednesday (May 15).

Shafie, whose predecessor Musa Aman had also held the posts of both Chief Minister and Finance Minister that had often raised concerns about conflicts of interest, said, “Don’t say that there’s a similar conflict of interest as the “previous guys”.

Shafie said his role as Finance Minister is to ensure that there will be no abuse of power, to ensure revenue increase for Sabah, attract investors and provide more job opportunities especially for the youth.

Shafie also expressed his hope that the people of Sabah will not think that there is a conflict of interest in his move.

“It doesn’t mean that if I’m holding the Finance ministry there will be a lot of abuse,” said the Parti Warisan Sabah president, whose cabinet lineup include representatives from his party partners DAP, PKR and Upko.